Weighty Matters

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The Outside and the Inside

on August 12, 2014

Like so many of us, I am incredibly sad about the sudden death of Robin Williams. Selfishly, I’m sad that he’s gone and he will no longer make me laugh with new appearances, movies and material. That’s about me. Mostly, I’m sad that someone of such a gift without boundaries, so marvelous a talent, suffered from the diseases of addiction and depression. I feel so, so bad that he who brought so much joy to the lives of others was robbed of feeling it for himself to the extent that he ended his life.

We all have our outsides and our insides. We often have a tug of war with ourselves between our public faces and private struggles. Sometimes we expose our inside battles. I do it often enough here on this blog. Some celebrities share about them on talk shows and other media. My discussing my eating disorder, battles with food and effort to lose weight and gain health is a choice. Making the blog was my choice. Nobody told me I had to. In fact, some questioned whether it was a good idea.

It doesn’t seem like celebrities have a choice. By pursuing careers that put them in the public eye, on our televisions, in the movie theaters or on the stage and sharing themselves with the world, the world then acts like they are obligated to reveal everything about themselves to us all of the time.

Our need to know them, to be in on every detail of their lives, is almost insatiable. Perhaps we are so impressed with their external performances that we feel entitled.

Yesterday, learning about Robin Williams’s death was difficult enough, made even more so by the phrase “an apparent suicide”. It wasn’t enough that the world knew he’d died. It was almost a requirement that we be told how. Today is even worse. Suicide confirmed with a fairly detailed statement of the method. I wanted to scream at the television, “Enough! He died. We know he killed himself. That’s enough. We don’t need to know more.”

Except, apparently, many do feel they need to know more, or the media decides we need to know as much as possible.

I want to respect his pain. I want to honor that, despite his celebrity, he has a right to privacy in death. I am strangely protective of his inside self.

The results/effects of my inside disease are so evident. I wear it on my outside. Often, that is difficult enough to handle and balance. At least with the blog, I choose what and how much I choose to expose of my struggles. I feel like, to some extent, Robin did not reveal the extent of his internal challenges, the depth of his depression to the world – nor was he obligated to. So, I really hate that it is all coming out now because of the way in which he died.

He’s beyond this pain. He’s beyond knowing or caring that the details are spread all over the internet. I hope his family will find peace. I hope that, if the details must be known far and wide, that someone, somewhere is helped by the knowing.

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